Activists hung a banner calling for justice against police violence on scaffolding surrounding the Palais de Justice de Bruxelles (Law Courts of Brussels) on the night of Saturday to Sunday.
“Justice for Adil, Mehdi, Semirah, Mawda. Their violence is not confined. Neither is our anger,” read the banner, placed above the main entrance to the building.
It referred to Adil, a 19-year-old Brussels resident killed on the night of 10 April following an accident with a police vehicle by the Quai de l’Industrie during a police chase.
Mehdi was 17 years old when he died on 20 August 2019 while running from police near the Central Train Station. He was knocked down by a police vehicle while crossing Rue Ravenstein. The police car in question was speeding to the scene of a burglary, a priori with the blue lights on, but without the alarm.
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Mawda was killed on 17 May 2018 at the age of two years by a stray bullet from a police officer who fired on a truck carrying migrants during a police chase on the E42 motorway.
Semira is the Nigerian asylum seeker who lost her life on 22 September 1998, when she was suffocated with a cushion by two Belgian policemen on a plane during an expulsion attempt at Zaventem Airport.
The activists feel the deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Police violence, they say, is structural and cannot be reduced to certain individuals.
The deaths reflect impunity and racial discrimination, they argue, pointing to a 2018 report by Médecins du Monde showing that one in every four migrants suffered from police violence and almost 30% of victims were minors.
The Brussels Times